There are all sorts of different reasons as to why people love this delicacy so much.
They will say it is because of the exquisite taste.
Or that it adds a small piece of luxury to an otherwise dull and boring day.
Or perhaps they enjoy the sensory delight of chocolate as it melts in their mouth.
Or perhaps they are simply addicted.
One thing that cannot be disputed is that the popularity of chocolate is increasing.
Since the 1980’s Americans have been adding on an average 1 kilo of chocolate per capita a year to their diet.
Scientists have come up with one explanations for our overwhelming fondness of chocolate. It is the fact that we are hardwired to enjoy sweet foods. Part of our DNA make up. A matter of evolution, they will tell you.
Combine this with a shift in cultural attitudes in what constitutes “good food” and you have a recipe for chocolate’s booming popularity. But this is only a part of the picture.
People love this delight for other reasons that go beyond mere evolutionary instinct. Chocolate is a sensory delight. The first sweet taste as it touches the taste buds. Combined with the sensation produced when chocolate melts in your mouth.
Chocolate tantalises not just the taste buds. There is a visual element to chocolate’s appeal that should not be overlooked. When we think of chocolate, we imagine a delightful liquid chocolate. Think of a hot chocolate drink. Or perhaps the chocolate rivers of Willy Wonka’s factory.
When chocolate was first introduced to Victorian England it was seen as a luxury item. With an exorbitant price, initially, it was experienced only by those who were wealthy. For a spartan diet that was stripped of sweet treats, that first taste of chocolate must have seemed a rare delight indeed.
Chocolate went through a period of mass commoditization and lost a little of it’s glamour . But chocolate as a luxury item is back on the upswing. Consumers view chocolate as a luxury item akin to a bottle of wine. Chocolate is also a highly acceptable substance, with none of the bad connotations of the heavy drinker or smoker.
Chocolate not only taste great, but it also makes us happy. Perhaps this more than anything explains the enduring popularity of chocolate. People have an inbuilt desire to be happy.
Chocolate has been shown to release serotonin in the brain. This chemical literally makes the person happy. Unfortunately chocolate may not be able to be viewed as simply a delicious wonder drug. It also releases dopamine which causes reinforcement of behaviour in the brain. This is similar to what happens with alcoholics. So if you think that you are addicted to chocolate, the fact is, you might well be right.
However, such speculation that chocolate is addictive should be taken with a pinch of salt (or perhaps a bar of chocolate). The reason people feel addicted to chocolate is probably more to do with the fact that it tastes so good.
As long as chocolate is eaten in moderation and combined with a healthy balanced diet it, can be savoured frequently, as a harmless treat.
Life is to be enjoyed and a small bar of chocolate can brighten a day like no other food can.